The presence and progression of interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) is known to be associated with a decline of lung function and increased risk of mortality.
We aimed to elucidate the clinical course according to ILA in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)..
..Of 363 patients with COPD, 44 and 103 patients had equivocal and definite ILA, respectively. Patients with ILA were significantly older and had lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) than patients without ILA. During the mean follow-up period of 5.4 years, ILA was significantly associated with the annual incidence of moderate-to-severe acute exacerbation of COPD (β ± SD, 0.38 ± 0.12; P = 0.002), and the risk of frequent exacerbation (aOR 2.03; P = 0.045). Patients with progressive ILA showed a significantly higher rate of annual decline in FEV1 and FVC than those showing no change in, or improved ILA.
ILA was significantly associated with moderate-to-severe acute exacerbation in patients with COPD, and the progression of ILA was associated with an accelerated decline in lung function.